When it comes to compelling, quality games that families with young children can play together, there’s no safer bet than Lego and TT Games.
“Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham” is the latest game in a series that has used bricks and minifigures to reimagine franchises such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, the Avengers and, of course, the Caped Crusader in two previous installments. Like the others, “Batman 3” is clever, humorous and, despite being quite easy and intuitive to play, absorbing and challenging for a wide range of ages.
“Beyond Gotham” takes Batman and Robin into the cosmos where they join DC superheroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Aquaman to stop the villain Brainiac from attempting to destroy the earth.
The basic objectives are something children and Lego fans of all ages love -- breaking and building stuff. Users navigate their way through levels by busting up objects, collecting Lego studs and using scattered pieces to build whatever items are needed to advance. The game controls are simple with buttons that either jump, attack, build or employ weapons/gear. And best of all for those playing with young children, there is endless regeneration of lives, which keeps frustration at arm’s length. No need to worry about falling off a ledge or getting beaten up by the Joker.
But still, it’s challenging. Advancing through levels has the feel of solving a puzzle, and the answers often require exploration and creative thinking. And if all else fails, keep busting objects.
There are more than 150 characters that can be earned and used in free play mode. Specialty “suits” (Hazmat, Sensor, Power and Techno, for example) give the characters special abilities and are required to accomplish certain objectives.
There are two notable bonuses -- the background music is taken from Danny Elfman’s score of the 1989 film “Batman,” and Adam West, who played Batman in the campy 1960s television series, is a constant presence throughout the game.
Lego puts a coat of cuteness on just about anything, and there’s not much for parents to be worried about with this game. The violence is cartoonish, and vanquished characters simply fall to Lego pieces -- which, of course, are easily put back together.
Game: “Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham“
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PC
ESRB rating: E 10 plus (cartoon violence)
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